5 Tips to Make a Smooth Transition to Coworking
You were tired of working in a large office environment with a lot of unmotivated people and wanted to have the freedom of working at home. You stumbled upon the Y Combinator site and noticed a coding school called Lambda. You signed up, learned to code in 30 weeks and got some great clients. The only problem is that while you worked at home from your super cheap apartment near campus in, let’s say, Bloomington, Indiana, there were lots of distractions, and the fridge and TV were only a few feet away.
You also found that you were less able to separate working hours from leisure time, and you began to think about getting a spot in a coworking space. Following are five important things to consider as you make the change.
Check It Out
Just because someone says that XYZ coworking is a great spot to be, don’t make a rash decision, and be sure you carefully vet it and all of your options before you consider signing a lease. Always visit potential coworking areas during primetime–10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.–and be convinced that the vibe is what you are looking for.
If you make a lot of phone calls, your prospective space should afford the privacy you need; if you need to meet clients at your office, conference rooms should be available. If you need quiet, a rowdy coworking space obviously won’t suffice.
In short, the other inhabitants of your coworking area need to be compatible with your needs.
This should go without saying, and while well-established coworking concerns like WeWork undoubtedly have great connectivity, a smaller independent coworking space may not, so make sure first that outages very rarely occur, and that there is enough bandwidth for your needs. Also, Wi-Fi connectivity can be less robust than an old-school ethernet cable connection, so make sure that whatever it is that you are doing is well-supported by the signal you pay for.
Discipline is needed to make the shared workspace experience successful. This may have been one of your working at home issues, and one great way to attack the problem is to get to work at the same time every day. That way, work time is separated from leisure time. Of course, it’s OK to try a flex-time schedule and make a self-imposed rule that you will work a certain number of hours each day after you arrive at the office. For example, if you want to do eight-hour days and you get to work at 11:00 a.m., you’ll have to stay until 9:00 p.m. that night.
When you take a college class, there is always an annoying student that talks incessantly, monopolizes conversations, takes up everyone’s time and is a general pain. Generally known as the class idiot, if you haven’t figured out who he or she is by the third week of school, it’s probably you! The same holds true for existing in a coworking environment. Respect your peers, don’t infringe on their time, don’t look over their shoulders at their screens, and save socializing for those Friday afternoon happy hours.
In the food department, just make sure you’re not the smelly food guy. That three-day-old tuna casserole that you really like may not have offended anyone while you were working at home, but you’re the odor of your lunch being nuked in the community microwave, may make you some enemies quite quickly.
Adapting to a Community Environment
If you have lived in an apartment or a single-family home your entire life and decide to move into a condo and purchase your first place, you are transitioning from a private to a community environment. In a condo complex or a high-rise, you have shared spaces, and your privacy may be limited to your interior area. Greenspace and parking facilities will have to be shared by others, and if you’re used to taking out the trash at 2:00 a.m. while in your pajamas, you may be surprised to meet another person in the elevator.
In a coworking space, you’ll have to share restrooms, and possibly office equipment. Yes, you won’t have to keep buying expensive ink cartridges for your printer, but there may be a line at peak times in front of the coworking space’s printer/scanner/fax, so you may have to be patient.
Other important things to consider while in your coworking environment are:
- Don’t sign up for a shared workspace to mine for new clients. If you are identified early as a salesperson merely trolling for business, you will quickly be ignored by your coworkers.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t know the snack protocol, or if you need private conference space on short notice, don’t hesitate to ask the staff or a co-tenant to help you out.
- Be aware of the advantages that your space provides you with. Coworking areas many times contract with local vendors for discounts on things like food and office supplies plus perks like free deliveries on some items. Make sure you avail yourself of these valuable extras.
- If your space uses an app like Slack, get on it so that you can get help if you need it. There may certainly be a designer in the space that can help you on a project and using a communication tool like Slack can be a great way to solve problems.
Remember, however, that coworking is not for everyone. You may find yourself annoyed by others that infringe upon your space, and you may also conclude that it’s hard to concentrate for various reasons like the number of people in the room, the noise level, or even harsh lighting. If this occurs, you could first try to find a different coworking space that better fits your needs. If not, the experience may have actually proven to you that working at home could succeed, and if you decide to try the process again at home, you may be more motivated to make it work.
If you need help in finding a coworking space, we can help. Let us know where you are looking by Contacting us.